Joint statement from Ontario NDP Immigration Critic Teresa Armstrong and Community Safety and Corrections Critic Jennifer French regarding federal immigration detainees

 Ontario NDP Immigration Critic Teresa Armstrong, and Community Safety and Corrections Critic Jennifer French issued the following joint statement.

New Democrats support calls on Premier Wynne and her government to request that federal Minister of Public  Safety Ralph Goodale meet personally with the federal immigration detainees currently on hunger strike in provincial jails.    

The Ontario government should not be in the business of immigration detention. Our provincial correctional facilities are already overcrowded and stretched thin. The Province should not be warehousing individuals who the federal government cannot identify or process through the federal immigration system.

We demand that Minister Orazietti act now to do the right thing and ensure that his federal counterpart meet with the detainees in order to avoid a tragedy. 

New Democrats stand with health professionals, civil organizations, and the United Nations who are calling on the federal government to limit immigration detention, to the extent that federal immigration detention continues, to 90 days in keeping with the international standard. 

Going on hunger strike speaks to how desperate these detainees feel. The responsibility for their health falls to the Wynne government. There’s no time to wait. Minister Orazietti and Premier Wynne need to act now, before there’s another death in detention.”

Statement by Ontario NDP Energy, Environment and Climate Change Critic on nuclear safety whistleblower warnings.

Peter Tabuns, Ontario NDP Energy, Environment and Climate Change Critic, issued the following statement regarding nuclear safety whistleblower warnings.

“I am calling on the Premier to call independent review of allegations made by nuclear safety whistleblowers today. This review should be completed by experts with no connection to Ontario’s nuclear industry. 

As of today, the whistleblowers say ‘neither OPG nor the Commission can make an informed decision about the safety of the plant during a refurbishment. Until an independent review is completed, and every step has been taken to ensure the safety of all Ontario’s nuclear reactors, we need to press pause on any work on the Darlington refurbishment.’

Ontarians count on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to ensure nuclear reactors are being operated as safely as possible, but whistleblowers are calling into question whether the commission was forthcoming about risks to the safe operation of the Darlington and Brucereactors.

The letter also says the safety commission cannot evaluate whether Ontario’s Emergency Response Plan is adequate. 

These are major concerns which cannot be ignored. When it comes to Ontario’s nuclear reactors, we can never be too careful. The Premier needs to do what’s right, and call an independent review today.”

Statement by Ontario NDP Finance Critic Catherine Fife on provincial debt comments by Ontario’s FAO

Ontario NDP Finance Critic Catherine Fife issued a statement regarding  comments on the provincial debt made by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer.

“The reason the Province’s net debt is increasing is because Kathleen Wynne’s choices are more about politics than about what’s best for Ontarians. The FAO has reported that Kathleen Wynne’s decision to sell Hydro One doesn’t pay for infrastructure, but will actually increase the debt. Instead of asking profitable businesses to pay their fair share, the Liberals have cut Ontario’s corporate tax rate so it’s lower than Alabama’s. It isn’t just that these decisions mean more debt; they have real impacts on people like longer waits in crowded ERs.  Schools and hospitals that need critical repairsare being left to crumble.

Ontarians deserve so much better than Kathleen Wynne’s  short-term, politically-motivated decision-making. They deserve a government with the right priorities, that plans for the future, and is focused on prosperity for all Ontarians.”

Joint Statement by Ontario NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns, France Gélinas, and Sarah Campbell on Grassy Narrows

Joint Statement by Ontario NDP Environment Critic Peter Tabuns, Indigenous Affairs Critic France Gélinas, and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River Sarah Campbell

“In light of the latest revelations that the federal government has been holding on to thirty year-old data that shows the devastating impact of mercury exposure in the development of children of Grassy Narrows, New Democrats call on the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to release all health data the government possesses to the people of Grassy Narrows, which they have a right to access.

Serious questions remain about the Ontario government’s claims to transparency and accountability: Was the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care aware of Health Canada reports showing elevated mercury levels in the umbilical cords of babies in Grassy Narrows? If so, then why was this information kept secret? If the Minister was unaware of these studies then how can the Ontario government legitimately claim that it has been monitoring the impact of mercury contamination on the people of Grassy Narrows?

Given the provincial government’s responsibility to the people of Grassy Narrows it’s hard to fathom that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care did not have prior access to this recently released Health Canada information.

Instead of waiting for the next story to detail the unacceptable neglect of the health and well-being of the people of Grassy Narrows, New Democrats call on the Wynne government to fully release all of the information they have about the environmental and health impacts from the mercury contamination of the English-Wabigoon River system, and to act immediately to clean up the mess.”

Statement by Ontario NDP Finance Critic Catherine Fife responding to Q1 2016 Economic Accounts

Catherine Fife, Ontario NDP Finance Critic, issued the following statement:

“The Liberal economic plan is out of touch with the realities that too many Ontarians face.

It does nothing to address the silent crisis in our province’s health care system. Their promise is to balance the books by overcrowding our hospitals, firing thousands of healthcare workers, and creating a $3 billion backlog in critical repairs to hospitals. 

The government’s claims of prosperity will do little to comfort the hardworking families who continue to wait to find good, stable jobs across Ontario.

And the story behind their numbers shows that under this Liberal Premier, the number of people working in temporary jobs, without benefits or even sick days, has increased more than twelve times faster than people with stable, permanent jobs. Families are being forced to do more with less and are falling further behind. Precarious employment disproportionately affects women and members of marginalized communities.

Rather than helping to fix these problems by raising the minimum wage to $15/hr and investing in healthcare, education, and job training, Ontarians continue to see more cuts, fewer services, and higher costs for everyday necessities like paying the bills for hydro or car insurance.  

In fact, today’s announcement comes at the same time that some Ontarians learned their auto insurance rates have gone up by much as 3.7%  instead of going down by 15% as the government promised back in 2013.

People deserve so much better than broken promises and ‘stretch goals.’ They deserve a government that will provide real opportunity for every Ontarian.”

Joint Statement by Ontario NDP Environment Critic Peter Tabuns, Indigenous Affairs Critic France Gélinas, and MPP for Kenora-Rainy River Sarah Campbell

Queen’s Park – Ontario NDP MPPs Tabuns, Gélinas and Campbell issued the following statement calling on the government to stop making excuses when it comes to the clean-up of mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows.

“The ‎people of Grassy Narrows have needlessly suffered from mercury poisoning for over 40 years because of contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system. If the Liberal government put as much effort into remediation as they continue to put into making up excuses then the mess would already be cleaned up.  The Premier must listen to scientific opinion, and the voices of Grassy Narrows, and act now to fully clean up the mercury in the English-Wabigoon River system and Clay Lake.”


Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the National Council of Canadian Muslims’ Charter for Inclusive Communities

On behalf of Ontario’s New Democrats, I would like to extend my full support for the National Council of Canadian Muslims’ Charter for Inclusive Communities. We strongly believe that Ontario is at its best when we’re all included, and nobody is left behind.
As elected officials, we have the tools before us to make a difference in the lives of so many Ontarians, but it’s time we have the collective will to use them. That means making choices, and showing leadership for all Ontarians. We must take positive steps to challenge inequality, which is why Ontario’s New Democrats proudly stand with the commitments outlined in the Charter and why we fought hard for the creation of the Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat. We need a government body that is dedicated to work with others to develop policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to eliminate racism in Ontario.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wishes Ontarians a Happy Canada Day

On behalf of Ontario New Democrats, Happy 149th Birthday Canada, and Happy Canada Day! 

Whether you’re spending the day with family at the beach, park, or backyard, watching fireworks with friends, or having a quiet day, this is a day to remember our Canadian values of inclusion, diversity and respect.

I’m proud of our history and optimistic about our future. I believe that this is a country where everyone should have the opportunity to succeed, and that’s what New Democrats everywhere are working toward. 

Have a safe and happy Canada Day!

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's Statement on LGBTQ Pride

Pride is a time for us come together to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ community and the advances we’ve made in our province for all Ontarians regardless of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. 

As we come together to celebrate in the streets, in our homes, in our places of worship, and in clubs and cafes - this year is different. 

Only weeks ago, 49 people were killed in a horrific and tragic shooting at a club in Orlando, Florida. Most of those killed were LGBTQ people of colour, primarily Latinx and Black.

This brutal massacre targeting the LGBTQ community sparked a wave of memorials and vigils in Ontario, across Canada and around the world as people joined together in pain and in shock to find strength in solidarity and unity.

Thirty-six years ago Toronto Pride started with a handful of people struggling against homophobia and transphobia coming together in solidarity to demand justice and equality. It started as a protest in the streets, by a few brave activists, and has now flourished into a celebration enjoyed by more than a million people. 

Statement by Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the Alberta government's progress on $15 minimum wage

“I would like to applaud Premier Notley and her NDP government on today’s announcement to implement a $15 minimum wage by 2018. Here in Ontario, the Liberal government has stood by and watched as work has become more insecure and unstable—instead of stepping up and ensuring better wages and benefits for the people of this province. Ontario’s New Democrats are the first and the only political party in Ontario to support a $15 minimum wage, and if the Wynne government won’t do it, then Ontarians will have the opportunity in two short years to elect one that will. It’s time to raise the floor for every worker in this province.”

Statement from Ontario NDP Indigenous Affairs Critic France Gélinas (MPP Nickel Belt) regarding inquest on First Nations youth deaths

“New Democrats mourn the loss of Jethro Anderson, Curran Strang, Paul Panacheese, Robyn Harper, Reggie Bushie, Kyle Morriseau, and Jordan Wabasse,  as we reflect upon the recommendations of the coroner’s inquest into their deaths.

No family should ever have to experience the trauma of losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances. Each and every indigenous youth on all traditional territories, and in every corner of the province, has an equal right to access quality education, and a safe learning environment.


Statement by Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Autism Services Changes

“Parents and children across Ontario living with autism stood up to fight for the services they need, and today is a victory for families. Following the Liberal government’s announcement of its initial plan to cut off autism supports, I met with thousands of moms, dads and advocates from across Ontario whose lives were thrown into chaos. They knew that with the right supports, their children could live up to their full potential, and they didn’t give up hope. Today is a win for the future of all of those children. I am very proud to have supported them and raised their issues in the legislature and at protests across the province.

While this is an important win, there is more work to do so that Ontarians with autism can succeed throughout their lives. Whether it’s ensuring our schools have the right special needs supports, or that people have the help they need through adulthood, New Democrats will fight for the services that enable all Ontarians to achieve their full potential.”

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on CPP Enhancement

HAMILTON – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued the following statement:

“I want to congratulate the federal and 8 provincial governments for reaching an important agreement that will help improve retirement security for young Canadians.

I also want to congratulate everyone, especially labour (the CLC and Provincial Federations of Labour including the OFL), who has worked so hard to lay the groundwork for this agreement.  Ontario’s New Democrats are proud to have stood with you, including our 2010 motion calling for an enhanced CPP. 

Today is an important step towards ensuring that Ontarians can retire with dignity. However,  there is still much more to do to help lift all Ontario seniors out of poverty and to help those who are on the cusp of retirement now, but who won’t benefit from these changes to the CPP.

Together, we must also do more to  support our young people as the nature of work changes. We can build a province where people have good jobs that come with a decent paycheque, decent benefits, and a pension – a place where we can all share in our province’s enormous potential.”

Statement by Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on National Aboriginal Day

“National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity for us to honour and celebrate Ontario’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit people, their unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions to our Province. 

Last month, I was honoured to participate in the Ontario government’s apology for the historic brutalities committed for generations at residential schools.

Apologies are important, but of course, it’s not enough to apologize. We need to learn from the mistakes of history, and we need to stop repeating them. 

Recent events, including the tragic loss of young lives in Attawapiskat, should cause us to redouble our efforts to ensure that every First Nation in this province has access to safe drinking water, safe housing, and quality health care and to ensure that children and youth have access to the opportunities that they need to start their lives, and look forward to their own futures. 

But reconciliation won’t just happen. Political leaders need to have political will to make it happen.

That is our task moving forward.

As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day, I’m recommitting our caucus to doing everything we can to build a future free of racism, discrimination, inequity and injustice.”


Joint Statement on Grassy Narrows by NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns and Sarah Campbell

Joint Statement on Grassy Narrows by NDP Environment Critic Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth), and Local MPP Sarah Campbell (Kenora-Rainy River)

“Today’s reports show definitively that the government was told about ongoing sources of mercury contamination of the Wabigoon River. For 50 years, people in Grassy Narrows have been getting sick and dying from mercury poisoning, but when NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked the Premier if they knew about ongoing mercury contamination, the Premier refused to acknowledge anything.

The Premier is dodging responsibility for action, and that has to stop.

People in Grassy Narrows shouldn’t be dealing with mercury poisoning. The science is in, and we can clean up the waterway. New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to do the right thing and start the cleanup of the Wabigoon-English River system.”

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Liberal cabinet shuffle

“Today’s cabinet shuffle is a public relations exercise by a government that has grown out of touch with Ontarians and more concerned with the fortunes of the Liberal party than the people of this province -- no superficial reboot is going to change that fundamental fact.

 "If the Premier were really listening to people across the province she would stop the sell-off of Hydro One, and put an end to cuts to healthcare and education. Ontarians deserve better than a game of musical chairs from this government. People deserve affordable electricity, good jobs with decent benefits, and healthcare and education they can count on."

Wynne has much to answer for on Pan Am spending

During Question Period today, NDP Tourism, Culture and Sport Critic, Paul Miller, demanded accountability from Premier Wynne  following the Auditor  General’s report that found  the Liberal government went $342 million over budget on the PanAm and ParaPanAm games – paying out more than $5 million in executive bonuses with little to no accountability. 

“Seven months ago, this government had the audacity to claim that the Pan Am Games had come in under budget.  Enough is enough.  We can’t trust even simple arithmetic from this government,” said Miller. 

“Who will the Premier hold accountable for wasting over $300 million of provincial money? At a time when Ontario Hospitals have a $3.2 billion dollar backlog of maintenance, when they’re being forced to fire health care workers, that $342 million could have been spent on priorities like, health care.”

This morning, the Auditor General revealed that the Pan Am Games went shockingly over budget. Ontario’s original budget for the Games was $500 million. The cost so far is $804 million, 61 per cent over budget and climbing. 

Liberal government balancing books on the backs of students with special needs

The Liberal government continues to deny children with autism vital therapy while also cutting front line education workers who help children succeed, said NDP MPP for Oshawa, Jennifer French, today in the legislature. 

“Ontario families know that when $8 million is cut from special education funding across 25 school boards, and $1 billion in dedicated education funding goes unused over the past three years, their children are not a priority,” said French. 

French cite several examples of the impacts of Liberal cuts across the province: